Holiday Veggie Dishes

First of all happy Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, etc. I feel like I need to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season because I have so very much to be grateful for this year. The love and appreciation I felt from family and friends as I battled breast cancer was overwhelming, and the fact that I was blessed not to face radiation or chemo was breathtaking. Literally.

Yes, this all sounds very cheesy. But in truth, I’m probably one of the cheesiest people you will ever know. Plus, I’m listening to Bing Crosby’s holiday station while having a glass of wine and tearing up with nostalgia. So forgive me for my sentimentality.

Okay, this post is a bit deceptive. I’m including two recipes but one picture that has only one of the dishes. The second dish in the picture (the background caramelized vegetable bowl) did not turn out well so why bother. I’m sharing these two recipes from Barefoot Contessa (whom I have a slight admiration crush on) that will guarantee you success with any crowd.

For Thanksgiving, I made her roasted butternut squash salad which was a HUGE crowd pleaser and I would make over and over and over again. I also made her sautéed carrots which are requested every year and are pretty much the easiest thing to make in the world.

Paul and I had a beautifully relaxing Thanksgiving which included a hike (that kicked my out of shape arse), lounging in pajamas (a.k.a. house pants), cooking just a bit, and a warm and love filled dinner with 27 people. It’s kinda ridiculous when you combine two large, local families. But man it was a blast!

So regardless of any holiday plans, these two recipes are amazing! Sending y’all love and happiness!

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette Dressing (recipe care of Barefoot Contessa)

INGREDIENTS: 1 (1 ½-pound) butternut squash (peeled and 3/4-inch diced), good olive oil, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, 3 tablespoons dried cranberries, 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons minced shallots, 2 teaspoons dijon mustard, 4 ounces baby arugula (washed and spun dry), 1/2 cup walnut halves (toasted), 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes. While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about ¼ cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, ½ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten, and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Sautéed Carrots (recipe care of Barefoot Contessa)

INGREDIENTS: 2 pounds carrots, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley

DIRECTIONS: Peel the carrots and cut them diagonally in 1/4-inch slices. You should have about 6 cups of carrots. Place the carrots, 1/3 cup water, the salt, and pepper in a large (10- to 12-inch) saute pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 8 minutes, until the carrots are just cooked through. Add the butter and sauté for another minute, until the water evaporates and the carrots are coated with butter. Off the heat, toss with the dill or parsley. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

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